THERE’S no denying just how useful a dash cam can be in the event of an incident, providing video evidence of exactly what transpired in case there’s a dispute with another road user. Of course, dash cams can also be fun for uploading footage to social media, especially if you capture an unusual and/or funny event.
GPS navigation devices are also useful, offering features such as route guidance, live traffic updates, speed-zone information and speed camera locations. But mount a dashcam and a GPS device on your dash, as well as other electronic devices such as your phone, and before you know it will be cluttered with technology that can be more distracting than helpful.
The Navman DRIVEDUO SUV goes some way towards minimising dash clutter by combining a dash cam and GPS navigation in the one device. We’re talking a high-end dashcam here, with high-definition 2K video recording, an Advance Driver Assistance System (ADAS) and GPS-tagged video. We’re also talking high-end GPS navigation, a six-inch touchscreen, lifetime built-in maps, lifetime inbuilt traffic subscription, spoken safety alerts and preloaded 4WD tracks and information.
The DRIVEDUO SUV isn’t particularly cheap at $479, but when you consider it combines dashcam and GPS navigation in the one unit, it’s like killing two birds with one stone.
THE DRIVEDUO SUV has a generous six-inch colour touchscreen with a bright and vivid display. It’s supplied with both 240V AC and 12V DC charging cables, the latter with a 12V accessory plug that includes a USB outlet. There are two Micro SD card slots; one for data and the other for video recording.
The wide-angle camera on the front of the unit can be angled to suit the mounting position in the vehicle, and the supplied windscreen mount sticks well with minimal vibration to enable a nice, sharp picture.
Once mounted, you need to adjust the device so the ground:sky ratio is close to 6:4, which allows the ADAS features to work at their optimum. ADAS includes Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS) and Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), both of which rely on the device’s camera, which also needs to be calibrated by setting the device height and position.
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The Dash Cam
ONCE correctly mounted and calibrated, the dash cam automatically records footage to the micro SD card. The length of video clips can be adjusted between one, three and five minutes, and video resolution can also be selected.
The DRIVEDUO SUV includes a G-shock sensor and, in the event of a collision, it will automatically log the impact location and video footage in an emergency folder, while the inbuilt GPS will record the direction of travel and vehicle speed. This information can prove invaluable when making an insurance claim.
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You can also manually record and save ‘events’ by hitting the ‘!’ button on the screen, and these can be played back on the device or on a computer using the Navman MiVUE Manager software, or simply by plugging in the micro USB and selecting the relevant MP4 files. The video footage is accompanied by high-quality audio, is date and time stamped, and includes GPS co-ordinates and vehicle speed.
The device’s LDWS displays easily visible on-screen warnings if you start to drift out of your lane, and it can be set to provide voice or beep warnings, or no audible warnings at all. If you take the time to calibrate the device properly, the LDWS works effectively.
I wouldn’t recommend relying too heavily on the device’s FCWS to help prevent an impact with a vehicle in front at highway speeds, because it doesn’t give a lot of warning, but it could potentially prevent some low-speed incidents.
Overall video quality is good, as is sound quality, and the wide-angle lens provides a good view. A second, rear-facing camera can also be plugged into the DRIVEDUO SUV via a Mini USB port.
ANYONE familiar with Navman GPS devices will have no problems navigating with the DRIVEDUO SUV. Setting a destination simply requires you to input the suburb, the street and the house number, and then hit ‘Go’.
Alternatively, you can use the ‘Voice Command’ function and just say the address out loud. You can then choose whether to record the route to the trip log or not, then the device will display 3D mapping and provide audio directions, along with projected route time, ETA and vehicle speed.
While you’re driving, the device will also show ADAS information with visible and audible warnings if you drift out of your lane or it appears as though you’re about to hit the car in front. It also displays the current speed zone and warns if you’re exceeding it. The device will also warn of upcoming speed cameras, red light cameras and safety cameras. There’s a ‘camera’ button on the screen at all times that allows you to record events quickly and easily.
You can set navigation preferences such as language, units, volume, brightness, speed and fatigue alerts, speed cameras, red light cameras, black spots, school zones, railway crossings, and more. You can also set route options such as types of roads, custom avoidance, POIs and mileage recorder, and the map can be set to display in 2D or 3D, with or without still junction views.
Other satnav features include real-time traffic information, Large Vehicle Assist (so you can avoid narrow laneways when towing or low overhead passes when you have a load on the roof), fuel type search, roadside assist (to pinpoint your location and allow you to make a call when your phone is connected), Lonely Planet Travel Guides and Zomato Restaurant Guide.
The DRIVEDUO SUV also has a ‘4WD Tracks’ button, which provides access to a wealth of track information provided by HERE maps. Unlike devices such as the HEMA Navigator, which allow you to plan and navigate just about any off-road route, off-road navigation on the DRIVEDUO SUV is limited to a list of nearby tracks that allows you to navigate to and from known POIs, camp spots and the like.
THE DRIVEDUO SUV can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth and used as a hands-free device. Video footage can be shared on Facebook or YouTube using the aforementioned Navman MiVUE Manager software, or you can just upload the MP4 files.
AFTER using the DRIVEDUO SUV for several weeks, combining the functionality of a dash cam with a GPS navigator seems like a no-brainer. Adding a modicum of off-road navigation along with the safety advantages of ADAS and spoken alerts, as well as Bluetooth phone connectivity, simply adds more value.
The DRIVEDUO SUV is by no means perfect, especially when it comes to off-road navigation, but it’s still a very handy device that could quickly pay for itself if you’re unfortunate enough to have a bingle with another road user.
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Available from: www.navman.com.au
We Say: Declutters dash; pricey; limited 4x4 coverage